Torture, Trauma, and the Truth

From Torture to Triumph: The Path Forward

July 24, 2018

She can't even speak English, but the laminated poster she holds -- as the tears stream down her cheeks -- says everything. The picture is of her husband, a living skeleton lying back on the bed, every one of his ribs protruding. He stares back with empty eyes -- a sharp contrast to the happy "before" picture Chi Lihua's daughter is holding next to it. She explains, through interpreters, that this is all they have left of Xu Dawei. He survived eight years in a Chinese prison for practicing Falun Gong, only to be released, meet his daughter for the first time -- and die 13 days later.

It was the torture, she says from experience. Chi was imprisoned too, once for passing out Falun Gong fliers and again for holding a promotional banner. She talks about being hit in the face with batons, beaten on her back, and forced to squat through the entire night. Her husband, she says, suffered eight years of it -- but it may as well have been a lifetime. She and her 16-year-old daughter are alone now, having lost Xu, her brother, and both parents to the same persecution in China. It's a story, she says soberly, that the Falun Gong community knows well. In just a three-year span, 933 people have been sent to prison -- where they'll be lucky to survive under a government that's said to harvest organs from "living Falun Gong prisoners" to cope with the country's current shortage.

Xu's nightmare is just one of the harrowing testimonies that world leaders heard at the events surrounding the State Department's first-ever ministerial on religious liberty. Pastor John Cao's is another. Although John is married to an American citizen (with sons who live in North Carolina), China decided to make an example of this man who'd brought so much hope to the surrounding community through his education and relief efforts. His wife, Jamie, spoke this morning. She told of how her husband's "faith-driven work" precipitated his arrest, despite the government's claim that he was "facilitating organized border crossing," a charge that "is often used to prosecute human traffickers." Pastor John was sentenced this past spring to seven years in prison, a month after the government had cracked down on the country's Christians. Her husband has lost more than 50 pounds and has been cut off from seeing his family or attorneys. She, like Chi and so many other hurting families, pleads for the world's help in stopping abuse like this.

The abuse, Tahir Hamid explained, takes many forms. Uighur Muslims like him have been forced to defile their faith, "modify their dress, shave their beards, eat pork, and serve alcohol." Or, Razia Sultana, described, the abuse could be barbaric and physical -- like the horrors we've witnessed against the Rohingya. There, she tells the audience, rape is used as a weapon. In most villages, victims like "M" explain, the attacks are methodical. After strangling her two-year-old son and throwing his body to the ground, she told at least one reporter, "The soldiers forced her back into the house. When she saw them undoing their pants, she pressed her hands over her eyes. They stomped on her stomach and feet, and one after another they raped her. She felt like she was dying."

In the months since soldiers attacked their way through Myanmar, hundreds of babies have been born to girls as young as 13. In some places, the women are shunned. Some hide their pregnancies, tying scarves painfully tight around their growing stomachs. "Theirs," Kristen Gelineau writes, "is a misery spoken of only in murmurs."

Today, the Trump administration -- and leaders from around the world -- are giving a voice to those murmurs. To advance the cause of religious freedom, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, "we need all these voices to work together." Our goal, he explains, is simple: "to promote the God-given human right to believe what you want to believe." It's a big task, Ambassador Sam Brownback agreed. "We must commit to using all the might, and all the machinery, and the moral authority we have to stop those nations and actors who trample on free souls." But, he said, just hosting this gathering will go a long way to lifting the spirits of the millions of hurting people around the globe.

"...Think for just a moment about those people in various countries around the world right now who are praying that we're successful. They've heard maybe something's taking place, that somebody's starting to look at this – that somebody's interested in their plight. They have no way out. They can't see a way out, but they know someone is... starting to get organized, and you give them hope that they'll have a better day. That it's coming."

For more on this historic conference, check out the schedule and live stream for the next two days here.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

The Killer Side Effects of Trans Treatments

July 24, 2018

We've all heard the lie that indulging someone's gender confusion is the compassionate response. But according to a new study, it might also be a deadly one.

In a stunning research project -- so large and credible that even the mainstream media can't ignore it -- doctors are finally exposing the dangers of transgenderism. And in a culture racing to redefine the sexes, not a moment too soon. Of course, we know how emotionally destructive the treatment can be from the testimonies of people who regret it. But pumping your body full of hormones is just as devastating physically, Kaiser Health warns.

In a study of 5,000 people who identify as transgender, men trying to become women were 80 to 90 percent more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. They also had a higher risk of blood clots from the estrogen. That's an astounding level of risk for anyone, let alone these patients, who are choosing to create an imbalance in their system. "This is the largest study of the health of transgender individuals on hormone therapy ever done," one of the authors, Dr. Darios Getahun, told NBC News. "Doctors and patients need to be aware of the possibility for increased health risks for transgender women."

Until now, FRC's Cathy Ruse points out, researchers assumed that the effect of estrogen treatments on transwomen (biological men) was the same as on real women (in menopause). But of course that requires suspending belief in reality and science -- and pretending that men who wish they were women have male bodies that are no different than female bodies. How ironic, Cathy says, that "this study shows how much male-female biological differences really do matter -- medical treatments that are beneficial to one sex can be detrimental to another." The transgender agenda is putting these men at risk, and they deserve to know the truth about the harmful health risks that hormone "transitioning" poses for them.

More liberal doctors, like Richard Greene, are grateful to have the data, but say they're worried others will use it to discourage their patients. Hormone therapy, he insisted (despite this clear research to the contrary), "is lifesaving for many transgender people." Towing the typical LGBT line, he went on to say that people who are denied it struggle with depression or contemplate suicide. What he failed to mention is that the rates of depression and suicide are just as bad -- or worse -- for those who do go through with it.

A Swedish study from 2011 showed just how misguided it is to think that giving these patients everything they ask for will do anything to help. On the contrary, people who identified as transgender had a suicide rate 19 times higher than the general population. Now, despite this new data, doctors like Greene are still pushing back, insisting that we put hurting men and women on a path to more suffering.

And what about the children? School districts like Fairfax County, Virginia have repeatedly voted against telling students about any adverse health effects from these hormone treatments in the pro-transgender lessons! How dare they push kids down this road without telling them anything about the dangers that lie in wait for them there? They're willing to do anything -- including treat children like lab rats -- just to advance their ideology. (An ideology, by the way, that the American College of Pediatricians calls "child abuse.")

The explosion of radical, gender-bending sex ed is so outrageous that even the Republican National Committee is getting involved. On Monday's "Washington Watch," Virginia Committee woman Cynthia Dunbar explained that parents across America are so upset that they're taking a political stand. Just this past weekend, the RNC went so far as to pass a resolution demanding that local leaders give parents a say in their child's curriculum. The language, Cynthia points out, was adopted unanimously -- and it puts the onus on school districts "to reach out to the parents, give them information as to what the content is going to be, and then let them decide whether or not they want their children to be exposed to it."

It's easy to be reckless with other people's children. But after this new study, parents will have another argument for telling schools to stop promoting transgenderism altogether.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

Previous Washington Update Articles »